|Free to Be You & me|
When I brought this up in a conversation with some mama friends of mine, one said her mother, who ran a daycare for a number of years, had said that the boy-girl topic was the most prominent of all among the children she'd cared for over the years.
Sex educator Debra W. Haffner, author of From Diapers to Dating, seconds the significance of this topic. By as early as six months of age, babies can pick out male and female voices, and children learn to divide the world into "male" and "female" before they reach the age of two. Depending on the behaviors they see in their homes and preschools, they will identify certain behaviors as male or female.
Haffner encourages parents to stimulate non-traditional gender roles by positive gender equal role modeling. But as she also points out, even children in less traditional homes will still divide the world by gender based on the models they see. Raising her children in the spirit of Free to Be You and Me, Haffner nonetheless remembers how her two-year-old son told her one that that he wished he could be a doctor, but he knew he couldn't. When Haffner asked him why, he, "thinking of his own woman pediatrician, said, 'Mom, only ladies can be doctors!'"